February 15, 2019

The Dream of Innocent III


On the following day, therefore, the man of God was presented by that cardinal to the pope, to whom he revealed his entire holy proposal.

December 30, 2018

The Holy Family

Holy Family, C

The good news of Christmas continues to unfold; the mystery of the incarnation continues to reveal itself. Today we are given to contemplate Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, as a member of a family – the Holy Family – together with Mary and Joseph.

And we see that Jesus as a child in the Holy Family is part of the mystery of the incarnation. When we say that the Word of God assumed our human nature, this includes being a member of family, for it is part of our human nature to be members of a family, to be children of parents, parents of children, brothers and sisters. And given that the mystery of the incarnation in Jesus Christ not only reveals God but also our human nature as God sees it – and things only really exist in the way God sees them – perhaps this revelation of the Holy Family is important for us in our time, in which we see how forgetfulness of God quickly leads to much confusion – and the suffering that follows – about the nature and purpose of the family.

August 31, 2018

Blog Note

I have just noted that some comments were not published in a timely manner because of something to do with Blogger's settings. I think it's all set now.

August 1, 2018

The Story of the Portiuncula

(From Assisi Compilation 56)
Seeing that the Lord willed to increase the number of brothers, blessed Francis told them: "My dearest brothers and sons, I see that the Lord wants us to increase. Therefore, it seems good and religious to me to obtain from the bishop, or the canons of San Rufino, or from the abbot of the monastery of Saint Benedict, some small and poor little church where the brothers can say their Hours and only have next to it a small and poor little house built of mud and branches where they can sleep and care for their needs.

July 7, 2018

Blessing My Friends at St. Peter's

Recently I enjoyed a visit from an old college friend and his wife, whom I had not met before. A particular and blessed dimension of the visit was that this friend from the time of my entrance into the Roman Catholic Church had himself converted to Eastern Orthodoxy this past Easter.

Religion and the faith didn't come up much during the visit; it was a short one in any case and maybe neither of us were sure how to talk about it with one another.

But there was one religious moment that has stayed with me.

On one of the days I went with them to see St. Peter's Basilica. We stood in the line and chatted. After passing through security and navigating the crowds marveling at and taking pictures of the Swiss Guards at the Bronze Door, we entered the Basilica.

Upon entering I did what I always do, as if by instinct: without regard to anyone's picture-taking or the explanations of guides I went straight to the holy water stoup under (I'm pretty sure) St. Teresa of Ávila, which is on your right as you go into the Basilica. It's what you do when you enter a church. You get some holy water and make the Sign of the Cross, como Dios manda.

When I turned around I saw that my friends had followed me up to the spot in front of the stoup. They asked me to bless them. So I got some more holy water on the ends of my fingers, sprinkled them with it, and blessed them with the Sign of the Cross and in the name of the Trinity.

In the craziness of St. Peter's in the middle of the day--I'm usually there before eight in the morning, when it's quiet and prayerful--and also probably distracted by hospitality and the thought of some business I had in the sacristy and whether I could get it done, I didn't think much of this little religious moment at the time. But as I say, it stayed with me.

There I was in this most recent church built over the tomb of St. Peter, the location for which is said to have been chosen by proximity to his martyrdom. This is St. Peter, on whose confession of faith the Lord builds his Church as the universal Sacrament of salvation, the sacrament by which the remission of sins accomplished by the Sacrifice of his Passion and death and the grace of the new creation inaugurated in his Resurrection come to us. And by the Sacraments of this same Church I have become first a vessel of these mysteries and then a minister of them, such that this explosion of grace through time and space, from that moment between Jesus Christ and St. Peter down through history, has come all the way to me, such that when I bless my friends, even in the chaos of St. Peter's in the middle of the day and the (much worse) chaos of my own mind, there arrives in my friends, in their identity as new creations by baptism, by means of my particular sharing in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, the blessing of God.

May 31, 2018

The Visitation and Charity

Today's feast, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth as it appears in St. Luke, and the in utero encounter of Jesus and John, brings back for me one of my earliest catholic sense-memories. It was right around the time when I decided that my search for a spiritual home was coming to a conclusion; I would become a catechumen and seek baptism in the Catholic Church. It was around Advent 1991.

May 28, 2018

Gaudete et exsultate: The Examination of Conscience

May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of gnosticism and pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness! These aberrations take various shapes, according to the temperament and character of each person. So I encourage everyone to reflect and discern before God whether they may be present in their lives. (62)
In obedience to the Holy Father, I have tried to make this examination of conscience that he encourages. And I admit that I feel rather stuck at least with regard to how I guess it is supposed to apply to me.

(Just as a caveat I want to say that in my opinion the terms pelagianism and gnosticism are used rather loosely in the document. But that would be another post.)

Of the dangers presented under "new pelagians," the one that I suppose would apply to me is "a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy." (57)